The half moon glares down at us as you stand opposite to me on the small balcony. Below us the city is a ghost, dead in the depths of winter and night. The snow stopped a few hours after sunset. Our breath billows out in fleeting clouds which can only be seen if I squint, just so. Here, like this. It doesn’t matter. I wrap my scarf tighter around my neck, tuck it into my jacket. The cold air still seeps in. You stare at the horizon, where the ocean shifts below the blanket of sky. I have nothing to say now.
A wind brushes past us and through the buildings lit by the moon. If I could have it all back, you say to no one in particular, to me? I’m never sure. (Rococo from The Suburbs)
So much Arcade Fire
1:44 am • 13 August 2011
Right now you don’t know very much. You don’t mind. You stand in the square, St. Mark’s Square. You’re in Venice again, like you were a few years ago. This time no one is there with you. You’re alone while pigeons and Europeans and tourists mull about. Four bronze horses glare down at you from the cathedral. From there you must be so small. You shrug in the midday sun and make your way toward one of the many small roads, the one beside the glassmaker’s that you were shown on that tour. What a long time ago. A harsh wind blows through the square from the ocean. You smell the salt and seaweed as it brushes past you, reminding you of your coast.
The road you take is wide compared to the others you know are deep in the city. Families and tour groups pass by you, grazing your shoulder. You would apologize were it a different day. As it isn’t, you carry on. Every few minutes the smell of Italian tourist food wafts through the air, accompanied by the collision of English and Italian as orders are haltingly made. You never liked the Italian food.
Really the road is the space between buildings that tower over the flow of tourists. It seems there are more tourists than residents here.
You’ve been walking for a while now, weaving through men and women and children from everywhere but the floating city. If you stop walking you can hear the murmur of them behind you, the Italian English of the gondola drivers and shop owners. And of course the tourists.
The roads are smaller here. Instead of groups you see one or two wanderers. One man with a map and a navy blue jacket passes by, looking European. He reminds you of Mr. Darcy. You admit to yourself that the idea is strange. Upon thinking this thought you find yourself before a statue of a woman. You think it is a woman. Made of black metal, it towers before you; a figure made simply of bulky circles. With a strange half laugh, you move on. Eventually, you know you’ll reach the other side of the island. You found it before, when you were lost.
The sun bears down between the aged buildings, threatening to sink lower before you reach your destination. This does not bother you, though perhaps it should. You look up at the walls of yellowing bricks. On a railing a woman has hung her clothing, a pale blouse, jeans, socks, a small dishtowel. The breeze picks up, gently tossing the laundry. You walk on with a small sigh.
You know the ocean is not far now, you’ve been walking for far too long; at least it seems so. Right now, you remind yourself, you don’t know very much. Walking on with slightly large strides, you still don’t mind.
Mostly because you are almost sure.
Finally, as you fly down a set of three stairs, you see the hint of a blue horizon over the hazy ocean. The square is empty. It is a different square, a forgotten square, and much smaller than St. Mark’s. Now, returning, you like this one better. An old woman sits on a single bench, quite far from the water. She does not see you, but gazes up into the clouds. A pigeon pecks at the brick walkway in a lonely, desperate way.
You approach the water, walking along the single dock that houses only a single abandoned gondola. At the very end of the dock you slip off your sandals. As they hit the wooden plank you slip your feet into the water. The sun is creeping away now, sending an orange glow across the horizon. Right now, you don’t know very much. You don’t mind.
8:26 pm • 8 November 2010